The Reason Why This Mysterious Phantom Island in The Atlantic is Elusive to Seekers May Be Due To Optical Illusion

Yana Bostongirl
IslandPhoto byMatheo JBTonUnsplash

According to legend, St. Brendan and an entourage of monks touched upon a beautiful, mysterious island somewhere in the North Atlantic sometime during the sixth century. This island was later sighted by other sailors and even depicted on ancient maps, however, what is baffling is that no trace of it has ever been found making it impossible to locate.

This has led some to suggest that the mythical island was nothing more than an optical illusion created due to the atmospheric conditions. And yet, the Latin text Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis ("Voyage of Saint Brendan the Abbot") reports that St. Brendan along with an entourage of monks arrived at the island in a small boat. There he and his followers celebrated mass as this excerpt explains: "This island is named after Saint Brendan, who claimed to have landed on it in AD 512 with 14 monks, with whom he celebrated a Mass. The monastic party reported its stay as 15 days, while the ships that expected their return complained that they had to wait a year, during which period the island remained concealed behind a thick curtain of mist."

Although some dismissed the story of the island, rumors about it gathered steam during the Middle Ages. It even appeared in a number of maps such as the one created by Joao II of Portugal's cartographer Martin Behaim's Erdapfel.

Another monk by the name of Barinco referred to the island as "Paradise" in his Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis as explained in this excerpt: "It being a thickly wooded, mountainous island where the sun never set and it was always day, where the flora were abundant, the trees bore rich fruit, the rivers ran with fresh water, and the birds sang sweetly in the trees."

By the 19th century, St Brendan's island had lost its allure, and expeditions were no longer made in its search.

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